|Title page from the book's first edition in 1813|
It’s been years – decades, really – since I’ve read Pride and Prejudice, and since I’m currently between books (I try to always have at least one on my nightstand for bedtime reading) I decided to pick it up again. And I'm glad I did.
Over the years I’ve seen many TV and movie adaptations, especially the 1995 television mini-series featuring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth (who is still my favorite Mr. Darcy) and the 2005 movie starring Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen.
There have been even more television and movie productions of Jane Austen’s story that I haven’t seen, plus some I'm likely to skip, such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a comedy/horror movie based on a book of the same name. This film is due to come out later this year and will star Lily James, better known as Lady Rose in Downton Abbey. I’m sure it will be a great production. I’ve just never been able to stomach zombies (too much blood and brains for me).
So, like many people I know the basic story of Pride and Prejudice fairly well. But I’m finding it’s truly delicious to read about Elizabeth Bennet and her family in Jane Austen’s own words.
|Jane Austen, an 1869 engraving based on a sketch|
by her sister Cassandra
Here are some things I forgot about this book that I’m rediscovering:
- The chapters are short, making the plot very brisk and easy to read.
- Though the words were written over 200 years ago in England, there’s nothing old or musty about the prose. Austen’s gifts as a writer and her knack for pacing and character development make the story as fresh as anything written today.
- It’s fun!
For an unusual introduction to this novel, click on this episode of Thug Notes, an American educational video series. The makers of Thug Notes aim to take classical literature out of the academic realm and make it more accessible and relevant to a wider audience. So far the series includes 67 books, and it’s had over 8 million views on YouTube.
I should warn you - some of the language is bleeped, and other parts probably should have been. But I believe this short video is a worthy addition to the reams of books, films and other media that Austen’s work has generated, especially if it draws new readers in. What do you think?